By Samantha Grose, designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO
We’re in the thick of the holiday season, the best time of year for rekindling friendships and family ties…and the worst time of year for your waistline! This is the time of gravy boats, endless varieties of pie, and candy dishes filled to the brim at work. What’s a health-conscious person to do?
We’ve put together some easy healthy eating hacks that you can use this holiday season. You don’t have to shut yourself in and avoid both the holiday cookies and cheer. Get out there, be mindful of your choices, and enjoy the company of others. Make it a wonderful, healthy time of year.
Many of the gatherings we attend during the holidays are buffet-style or have a large spread to choose from. Load up on leafy greens, fruits, veggies, and a few mixed nuts for the first round. Then, indulge a little in some less-healthy options. And take your time when you’re eating! RealSimple.com
advises, “Focus on chewing your food well and enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Research shows that mealtime multitasking (whether at home or at a party) can make you pop mindless calories into your mouth.”
It’s a psychological trick. If you choose to eat off smaller plates with delicate utensils, you’ll tend to eat less. How can you apply this to the company party? Select a dessert or salad plate instead of a dinner plate when you’re in the buffet line. According to a study at Cornell University
, even nutrition experts served themselves 31% more ice cream when using oversize bowls, compared with smaller bowls.
Think Before You Drink!
It’s easy to sip on a glass of wine or a cup of hot cider throughout the evening. Many people don’t count the beverage in their hand as extra calories, but all those sugary drinks can definitely
add up. A glass of craft beer
can contain anywhere between 150 to 500 (think imperial stouts) calories, while a glass of wine
averages about 125 calories for a 5 oz pour (but can easily double to 250 calories if you’re using a larger glass). Try alternating between a sugary beverage and a glass of water, and count to three when you’re pouring a glass of wine to ensure that you don’t overdo it.
BYO Healthy Dish!
Whether you’re having a company potluck, or you decide to volunteer to bring a dish to your Aunt Lizzie’s get together, it’s a great idea to bring your own healthy dish. That way, you’ll have complete control over what goes into your dish and
you can make sure that at least a few
vegetables appear on the holiday table. Need a recipe? Consider making a spinach and cannellini bean dip
or mini crab cups
for appetizers. If you’re making a side dish, volunteer to make mashed potatoes and use skim milk instead of whole, chicken broth, garlic, and Parmesan cheese (skip the butter!). Volunteering to bring dessert? Try featuring fresh fruit, like in these recipes for pineapple-raspberry parfaits
or cherries with ricotta and toasted almonds
Stop Grazing! It’s easy to pick up a few M&Ms here, a cookie there, a handful of caramels over there. These little snacks can really put a damper on an otherwise-healthy day of eating. How to stop grazing? Try sipping on a glass of fizzy water or popping in a peppermint. These low-calorie distractions will keep you from over-indulging at the snack table. Bonus tip: make sure you position yourself a healthy distance from the appetizers and snacks. If you have to cross the room every time you want a handful of caramel corn, chances are you’ll do it less frequently than if you were standing an arm’s reach away.
It’s easy to become over-stressed and anxious when it comes to healthy eating around the holidays. Unfortunately, an excess amount of stress leads to increased cortisol levels
which can (you guessed it!) lead to weight gain. Additionally, a lack of sleep can lead to poor eating choices. A recent study found that after a short night’s sleep adults ate about an extra 300 calories and tended to choose higher-fat, higher-calorie foods. The solution? Don’t look at the holidays as a stressful time that you need to somehow
get through. Savor your joyful moments with friends and family and don’t stress out too
much if you cave and eat an extra slice of cake. Resolve to do better tomorrow and really
mean it. With a little mindfulness and willpower, you’ll make it through the holidays just fine!
We believe in healthy living. To us, that goes beyond food choices and exercise routines–it also has to do with your home and the healthy elements associated with it. From optimal sunlight to low-VOCs paint to proper airflow, we take a holistic approach when it comes to your space. Wondering what we can do to make your home healthy? Feel free to contact us anytime.
Samantha Grose, Associate AIA, Allied ASID Designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO
Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the TWIN CITIES area having completed many new homes and large scale whole house remodels.
Samantha received her BS from the University of Minnesota majoring in both ARCHITECTURE and ART. She is deeply committed to a creative approach giving you highly functional spaces with an aesthetic appeal for everyday living.